Women and Adversity:
2023 Winner of Nobel Prize
Katalin “Kati” Karikó’s scientific pursuit is a journey of determination. She believed in her research of mRNA technology despite countless humiliations. That determination paid off October 2 when she won the Nobel Prize in Medicine. The actual name of the Nobel is Physiology or Medicine. Karikó shares the honor with Dr. Drew Weissman for their contributions to mRNA technology and the COVID-19 vaccines.
An online explanation of mRNA says it is a subtype of ribonucleic acid (RNA). At https://byjus.com it says DNA and messenger RNA (mRNA) are two types of nucleic acids that carry genetic information. That may help some people investigate more, but this blog is about how Karikó got to this point.
- Born January 17, 1955 in Szolnok, Hungary and grew up in Kisújszállás in a home that had no running water or refrigerator or television. Her father was a butcher, and her mother was a bookkeeper.
- In primary education earned third place in a biology contest in Hungary
- 1978 — Bachelor of Science degree in biology, University of Szeged
- 1982 — Ph.D. in biochemistry, University of Szeged
- 1985 — She, her husband and two-year-old daughter left Hungary for the U.S.
- 1982 — postdoctoral research, Institute of Biochemistry, Biological Research Centre of Hungary
- 1985 — her lab lost its funding at BRC
- 1985 — research at Temple University
- 1989 — research at University of Pennsylvania
- 1995 — demoted at University of Pennsylvania because she was not able to get financial grants to continue her work. She said, “One day, this will save lives.”
- 2005 — received a patent with Weissman for non-immunogenic, nucleoside-modified RNA
- 2006 — along with Weissman, founded RNARx, a company that aimed to commercialize non-immunogenic, nucleoside-modified RNA. Licensed the technology to Moderna and BioNTech.
- 2013 — senior vice president at BioNTech
- 2021 — Time magazine named her one of the most influential people of 2021.
- 2023 — won the Nobel Prize in Medicine
- 1980 — married Bela Francia, an engineer
- 1982 — daughter Zsuzsanna, “Susan,” born. Susan won two gold medals in rowing, women’s eight, one at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing and another in the 2012 Olympics in London.
Learn more about Karikó:
Researcher Demoted By University Of Pennsylvania Wins Nobel Prize For mRNA Discoveries—And Some Academics Urge Penn To Apologize (forbes.com)
Olympian Susan Francia on how her mother helped develop the COVID-19 vaccines and their American dream – ESPN
My ebooks available at amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com:
Honoring 23 Black Women, Recognizing 23 Notable Mothers, Saluting 23 Faithful Suffragists